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Mol Gen Genet. 1975 Jul 10;138(4):323-31.

Conjugational behaviour of N plasmids in Escherichia coli K12.


R factors of the N incompatibility group apparently transfer at low frequencies (often 10(-6)-10(-5) per donor cell) in 30 min liquid matings. However, the level of transfer is greatly increased when donor-recipient mixtures are held on solid medium selective for the recipient only, prior to transconjugant selection. Increase in transconjugant recovery is still donor-dependent at plating and therefore arises from mating on the plate. The process limiting N-mediated conjugation in liquid is probably mating pair formation, suggesting that the increase in yield of transconjugants may result from provision of a solid substrate for mating pair formation rather than from the delay in selection per se. The kinetics of N plasmid transfer on solid medium resemble those of traniments suggest that RP4, the prototype P incompatibility group plasmid, shows a stimulation of transfer on solid medium similar to the N plasmids studied. We suggest that N, and probably P, plasmids are (like F and the col V's) naturally derepressed for fertility, but this is masked by the imcompetence in liquid matings of donors carrying them.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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